Russian government asks IFAW team to assess oil spill
“The damage is so huge it can hardly be evaluated. It can be compared to an ecological catastrophe,” said Alexander Tkachyov, governor of Russia's Black Sea region of Krasnodar, according to Interfax news agency. “Thirty thousand birds have died, and it’s just impossible to count the loss of fish,” he said.
Over the next few days IFAW’s team will assess the impact to wildlife in the area and determine what type of immediate response must be mounted to help affected wildlife.
“IFAW’s oil spill team will work with Russian officials to advise on what measures can be taken to save affected animals,” said A.J. Cady of IFAW. “This is an enormous oil spill that will have an ecological impact for years.”
According to news reports, about 100 workers in the coastal settlement of Ilyich were on the beach using shovels and a bulldozer to scrape globules of oil off the sand. Oiled birds are washing up on nearby shores. A flock of about 1,000 rails, a species of wetland bird, were huddled on the beach, unable to fly because their feathers were coated with oil. Some were unable to stand. Cleanup workers said wild dogs had been taking advantage of the birds' condition to attack them. A Reuters reporter found a number of the birds on the beach with their heads torn off.